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2011 Volkswagen Jetta

Overview
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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

In many respects, the all-new 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is a lesser car than its predecessor. The standard engine is far less powerful, the rear suspension is less sophisticated and the interior is no longer over-the-top refined. But it is roomier and more affordable, and that's just what Volkswagen thinks America wants. Yes, some of the Jetta's more discriminating devotees will be disappointed, but the new model will attract far more buyers than it loses. And even with the cost-cutting, the Jetta is still fun to drive and still has one of the category's finest interiors. Last three words: Outsider moving in.

You'll Like This Car If...

Interior quality, driving dynamics and individuality are still Jetta strong suits. Now that prices are down and roominess is up, Volkswagen's perennial best-seller can even appeal to your practical side.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta's 115-horsepower base engine is the weakest in the category, and the lower prices still don't qualify the Jetta as a value leader (but its historically strong resale values don't hurt). Tech-savvy buyers wouldn't be wrong to expect more from the Jetta.

What's New for 2011

The 2011 VW Jetta is an all-new car with an all-new look, but the key changes can be summed up in two words: bigger and cheaper.

Driving the Jetta

Driving Impressions Not everyone who buys a Jetta does so for things like steering feedback and roadholding ability, but European driving feel – for less than $20,000 – has been one of...

the Jetta's greatest strengths for decades. Thankfully, given the simplified suspension and added length, it still is. The familiar 2.5-liter engine is punchy if short-winded, and the five-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions are just fine. Highway ride is firm within reason, and highway noise is on the quieter side of the category spectrum. We're eager to drive a Jetta with the smaller, 115-horsepower engine and smaller wheels - not because we think we'll love it, but to find out just how severe the penalty is.

Diesel Power
We haven't yet driven the 2011 Jetta TDI, but we're such big fans of Volkswagen's popular diesel engine that it's already one of our favorite Jetta features.

Cargo Room
The Jetta's newfound rear-seat roominess is welcome and useful, but the deep, massive trunk is a sight to behold.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Details
Interior

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta interior in a nutshell: more room, cheaper materials. Rear legroom, which was tight in the outgoing model, is up 2.7 inches and now best-in-class. But in areas where you'd find premium-like, soft-touch materials in the outgoing Jetta, the sixth-generation model features hard plastic. Moving up the trim ladder does buy a little more flair, and it's still among the nicest interiors in the class, but we wouldn't call it a $30,000 interior like we did the last Jetta's (and the current Golf's). The Jetta's huge trunk is also worth noting, as is the unremarkable sound system. Volkswagen's decision to put the USB port in the glove compartment could madden some whose phone and portable music player are one and the same.

Exterior
2011 Volkswagen Jetta photo

The biggest Jetta ever measures about three inches longer than its predecessor. Some were hoping for more expressive sheetmetal, but we think it's a tasteful design that will stand the test of time. Exterior differentiators throughout the lineup range from small, 15-inch covered steel wheels on the base-model Jetta S, to mirror-integrated turn signals, front fog lamps, chrome accents and 17-inch alloy wheels on the Jetta GLS.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S starts under $17,000, but with a weaker engine than its competitors and a pedestrian list of standard equipment. Highlights include air conditioning, power locks/windows/mirrors (with one-click up/down on all four windows) and a four-speaker AM/FM/CD sound system with auxiliary audio input. A full complement of standard safety features includes electronic stability control and six airbags.

Optional Equipment

A loaded 2011 Volkswagen Jetta GLS features a 2.5-liter 170-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission, leatherette seats, USB audio input, Bluetooth phone connectivity, cruise control, heated seats, touchscreen navigation/audio with six speakers and SD memory card slot, Sirius satellite radio, moonroof, rear disc brakes, and keyless entry and start. The SEL trim also offers a Sport package with a lowered sport suspension, sport-bolstered seats, aluminum pedals and unique door sills.

Under the Hood

The 2011 VW Jetta powertrain lineup will quickly grow to include four engines and four transmissions. The bread-and-butter combo is the 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport-tuned Jetta GLI will match Volkswagen's renowned 2.0-liter turbo engine with its quick-shifting and efficient six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (or a six-speed manual). The Jetta TDI will offer the same transmissions as the GLI, but mated to VW's also-celebrated turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine. At the other end of the spectrum, the base model 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S will be saddled with a 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower four-cylinder engine that, when matched to the auto transmission, has to strain for 11 seconds before pulling the car to 60 mph. A couple years down the road, we'll get a hybrid Jetta.

2.0-liter four-cylinder
115 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
125 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/34 (manual), 23/32 (auto)

2.5-liter five-cylinder
170 horsepower @ 5700 rpm
177 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/33 (manual), 24/31 (auto)

2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder (GLI only)
200 horsepower @ 5100-6000 rpm
207 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1700-5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: TBD

2.0-liter turbo-diesel four-cylinder
140 horsepower @ 4000 rpm
236 lb.-ft. of torque @ 1750-2500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 30/42 (manual), 30/42 (auto)

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2011 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.5
Out of 10

Based on 277 Ratings for the 2011 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.7/10
    Quality
    8.5/10
  • Reliability
    8.9/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    8.5/10
    Styling
    8.5/10

This VW Jetta has been a fantastic vehicle.

By on Thursday, March 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 26,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "The Volkswagen Jetta is a fun car to drive."

Cons: "The seats are not electric."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This VW Jetta SE has been a fantastic vehicle. It has been well-maintained and is washed and waxed on a regular basis. The majority of the miles has been highway driving. The leather upholstery is in pristine condition"

Love this car

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We really like the car, but are looking to get something a bit larger as my husband has Parkinson's and is finding it more difficult to get in and out of the car due to less mobility than when we purchased it. We have had it since the Oct. 1, 2012. On road trips we get 50 mpg (diesel fuel) as long as we drive 70 mph or less, and with faster driving generally get 46-47 mpg."

My favorite car!

By on Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great gas mileage, very economical."

Cons: "Expensive maintenance every 10K miles."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best vehicle ever! This is my 3rd VW, my 2nd Jetta. Great gas mileage, smooth driving rides quiet. Lots of leg room, front and back and a huge trunk so we can pack it full when traveling. Great sound system! Very economical!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

For an entry level sedan it has very good styling

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "for the price: Styling, safety, comfort"

Cons: "Electronic torque an trasmission timing on D mode."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Cons: The electronically controlled torque and transmission are not that sharp in "D" mode, but in "S" it's a lot more responsive. Being able to up/down shift manually is also great, otherwise it would drive me crazy to drive an automatic. The suspension is a little jumpy. I would probably replace it eventually. Maybe lower it a bit. Pros: No need to spend big bucks on a european. Interior styling of my 2013 is up there with the C class mercedez (2015), and maintenance and parts are a lot cheaper. Feels sturdy, rides quiet. "D" mode does keep the revs low (gas saver) Trunk space would fit a few bodies. (but they could get out pulling a handle) Charcoal color is invisible to cops (swear on my wig)"

6 people out of 15 found this review helpful

This car has had ZERO issues in 40000 miles.

By on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Everything but the bluetooth. Easy to bump."

Cons: "Wish bluetooth had an on/off button."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"It works and drives perfect. Always has from day one. Not one hiccup yet. Fuel economy better than advertised which I believe the TDI is the only car that does that. 42 city 52 hwy and that is no guestmating. It is using an actual calculator. Perfect power for any kind of driving aggressive or passive . My least expensive new car in decades is by far my favorite. I learned two things by from owning this car. VW has got their act together and German Engineering suites me well. Its a well thought out car that purrs nicely."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

I like this vehicle a lot. Best VW ever owned.

By on Saturday, March 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 92,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is my 4 VW vehicle. The previous cars were the Passat model which I liked too. However this vehicle is the best of all VW models I have owned. One reason is the Diesel Engine and the Automatic Transmission, which is very smooth and precise."

8 people out of 15 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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